The middle of the Boston Red Sox’s infield remained in flux throughout the 2023 season, the product of Trevor Story missing significant time and Kiké Hernández, among others, struggling to solidify that area of the diamond.

The Red Sox obviously are hoping for more stability in 2024, with Story staying healthy and locking down shortstop a huge part of the equation, but questions still surround second base with the offseason in full swing.

The Athletic’s Jim Bowden on Monday wrote second base is “a priority” for the Red Sox, with Boston engaging in trade talks with the Cincinnati Reds about Jonathan India and with the New York Yankees about Gleyber Torres.

The extent of those discussions is unclear — it’s “kicking tires” season across Major League Baseball, after all — but the report nevertheless shines light on an area of Boston’s roster that needs improvement. The Red Sox already eliminated one internal keystone candidate from the conversation last week when they traded infielder Luis Urías to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Isaiah Campbell.

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Urías, acquired by Boston at last season’s MLB trade deadline, was one of nine players to start at second base for the Red Sox in 2023. Christian Arroyo totaled the most starts (51) and innings (442) at the position, and he was designated for assignment in August.

The Red Sox have a few in-house options as they look toward next season, including Pablo Reyes, Enmanuel Valdez and ultra-versatile prospect Ceddanne Rafaela. But none are proven commodities at the MLB level.

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So, here are eight second basemen the Red Sox theoretically could target this offseason, starting with the aforementioned trade candidates and ending with a pair of veteran free agents.

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Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees
We mentioned Torres in a previous breakdown of position players the Red Sox potentially could pursue. It’s weird to think about a trade between the Red Sox and Yankees — it’s rare; not unprecedented — but New York has a surplus of young middle infielders, therefore making him a logical trade candidate before the final year of his contract. Torres, who turns 27 in December, was named an All-Star in 2018 and 2019.

Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds
India is less accomplished than Torres, although the former was named National League Rookie of the Year in 2021. He could be just as, if not more, appealing to Boston, though, because he’s under contract for three more years. India, like Torres, turns 27 in December and is known more for his bat than his glove.

Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins
Polanco has spent his entire 10-year career with the Twins, first as a shortstop then primarily as a second baseman, but his days in Minnesota might be numbered if the franchise trims payroll as expected. Perhaps the Twins’ loss can be the Red Sox’s gain. Polanco, an All-Star in 2019, is a good offensive player, with his 33-homer, 98-RBI output in 2021 a solid indication of the pop he provides at a position where power typically is scarce. His deal carries a $10.5 million salary for 2024 and includes a $12 million club option for 2025.

Brandon Drury, Los Angeles Angels
Speaking of positional pop, Drury brings that to the table, as well. The 31-year-old launched 26 home runs with the Angels in 2023 — his second consecutive season reaching that mark — while posting a 114 OPS+. He also offers steady glove work and is owed just $8.5 million in 2024. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Halos dangle Drury this offseason while dealing with Shohei Ohtani’s free agency and answering lingering questions about Mike Trout’s future.

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Ha-Seong Kim, San Diego Padres
Quick, do you know who led the star-laden Padres in bWAR in 2023? Yup, it was Kim. Not Juan Soto. Not Fernando Tatis Jr. Not Manny Machado. Not Xander Bogaerts. This speaks to Kim’s overall value, as a solid offensive contributor (.260/.351/.398, 17 home runs, 60 RBIs, 38 stolen bases) who plays above-average defense at multiple infield positions. Factor in his team-friendly contract, and the Padres presumably would fetch a decent return if they traded the 28-year-old amid a precarious offseason for the franchise.

Ezequiel Duran, Texas Rangers
This is an under-the-radar scenario that’s actually quite appealing for Boston, a team looking to form its next core in search of sustainable success. Duran is just 24 years old with 180 games (659 plate appearances) of MLB experience. He’s under club control through 2028. He’s versatile, capable of playing both the infield and the outfield. And his exit velocities and hard-hit rates point to a player who could reach another level with a more refined offensive approach. (“Duran has the skill set to put up big numbers in Fenway Park,” CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa recently wrote.)

Whit Merrifield, free agent
Merrifield is entering his age-35 campaign. His Statcast numbers don’t jump off the page. Nor does the .687 OPS he posted over the last two seasons. But he’s versatile, splitting time on the dirt and on the grass, and would infuse some speed into Boston’s lineup. He also puts the bat on the ball, which is nice, and is a free agent who’s likely attainable at a reasonable price.

Amed Rosario, free agent
Rosario spent most of his time at shortstop prior to joining the Dodgers in a trade deadline deal last season. Then, he played mostly second base, which could be where he lands in the long run given his poor defensive metrics on the other side of the bag. Rosario’s offensive profile is whatever — he lacks power and is allergic to walks — but he generally puts the ball in play, once was considered a top prospect and just turned 28. This is an opportunity to buy low if the Red Sox believe in the player.

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Featured image via Kevin Sousa/USA TODAY Sports Images